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The Wonder Years star Danica McKellar reveals why she swapped acting for mathematics

·2-min read


Danica McKellar swapped acting for mathematics to find her "value" away from 'The Wonder Years'.
The 47-year-old star - who rose to fame as a child actress playing Winnie Cooper on the hit show - took a step back from her career on screen to figure out what she wanted from life.
Speaking to her son Draco, 11, for 'Entertainment Tonight', she said: “I went to UCLA, but when I got to school, everywhere I went, people all over campus would shout across campus, you know, ‘Hey Winnie!’ [or] ‘Hey, loved you on ‘The Wonder Years!'
"I couldn’t get away from it. So I needed to find out how I was valuable outside of Winnie Cooper, and math was challenging and I did well at it.
“And I love this feeling that my value, the important stuff had nothing to do with how I looked or television.”
In 1998, she graduated summa cum laude with a BS in mathematics, and has gone onto publish 11 children's books on the subject, while also becoming an advocate for women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).
Danica was around the same age as her son when she appeared in the show, and she reflected on that period as she tried to balance her career with schoolwork.
She admitted: "What I remember the most is juggling being an actress and doing my schoolwork. It was a lot of going back and forth to the school trailer.”
Her son - who has appeared in some of her more recent Hallmark movies - was also curious if she would let him follow in her footsteps by pursuing a similar career.
She added: "Draco, I will support you whatever you wanna do. I would put you in acting classes and I would help guide you through it.
"I’m not gonna ever push you in that direction [though], because it’s a tough life.”